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Bathgate, Williamson set to represent Canada

Freeriders holding fundraiser to head to Andorra



Cooper Bathgate is hoping to leave the world seeing double.

The 18-year-old Whistlerite watched his twin, Jackson, capture the Freeride World Junior Championships in 2016 and he's looking to keep the championship in the family when he goes over next month.

"It's pretty special because Jackson won it last year, so hopefully I can go repeat that," he said.

Bathgate discovered at the beginning of November that he would be heading back to Andorra after attending the competition in 2015, placing sixth. He'll be looking to improve on that after he looked back at his previous trip and regretted not attacking more aggressively.

"Stick with your line — that's where I blew it two years ago," he said. "I changed my line, getting all scared."

Whistler Freeride Club teammate Rhegan Williamson will join Bathgate, skiing on the women's side to become the club's first female competitor at the championships.

"It means a lot. It's been a goal of mine to follow my passion for skiing. To be the first girl from Whistler Freeride to go to worlds is crazy in itself, just because we're such a successful club," she said. "Representing Canada is pretty special. Since I was 11, I've wanted to do something — I didn't know if it would be racing or if it would be ski-cross but I just ended up falling into the world of big mountain and my coaches have been amazing."

As the veteran, Bathgate will try to help guide Williamson and his other Canadian teammates when they hop the pond, skis, poles and all.

"I think me having skied the venue before will definitely help for everyone because they'll be able to relay questions off of me about what it looks like from above and what it looks like from down below," he said. "It'll be a definite kind of mentorship."

Said Williamson: "I definitely use the Bathgates as a resource to talk to about things like this."

One major change she'll have to adjust to over in Europe is the restriction on pre-riding the course. Knowing she'll have to study the course meticulously in advance to plan her run, Williamson is already sitting down with her coach to look at images of the Grandvalira mountain. From there, she'll start to do visual inspections on familiar terrain before moving to some newer tests like Banqueira, Spain leading up to the worlds.

"We're doing a warm-up comp, so we'll get used to the visual inspection," Williamson said.

Bathgate and Williamson will host a Festive Freeride Fundraiser this Saturday, Dec. 17 at Merlin's to help cover the cost of coaching fees for the competition. The event begins at 7 p.m. and minors are allowed until 10 p.m. Admission is a $5 minimum donation. The fundraiser will feature raffle prizes, auction items and a 50/50 draw to help provide a boost to both of the athletes.

"It'll be cool to get the whole town together behind something like this," said Bathgate.

Both Bathgate and Williamson are also doing online crowdfunding to support the journey on


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